Tag Archives: detachment

Detachment

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She holds and twists her long telling tale
of tangled and torn-at knots: blue ones, red ones,
yellow ones, green, her nails worn to the quick
sorting the strands of the rough, tough fibers,
tiny dark stains bled into the ragged ends.

Blue ones, I think, for the oceans of ink wept
and yet to be written; red ones for the nights that
the sharp-tongues are out; yellow for a spot
to stand firm on. (The blow, it’s certain, is coming,
yet you stand there just the same.) And finally
green, dark green, that whispering green,
that green-green germ that grows inside you:
the one you eat whole and alive, or it eats you up
from the inside out—the one you want so very much
because you planted it just for you. That one.

As much as it is to take her hands and gently warm
them to a stop, I don’t—I won’t—I can’t. They are
not mine to cut off at the wrists and let drop
to the river below, to let float downstream
bobbing up and down, waving goodbye,
trailing their rich, red hopes behind them.
They’re hers.

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I started thinking about what are the elements surrounding detachment when we need it the most? I decided they are the emotions we swirl in, the hurts we are forced to endure, the courage it takes to endure and finally our egos: that element that drives us to be who we are and what we are; to fight for the right to be us, but with which we have to juggle and manage, because our egos can step over the line from strength to betrayal if we are not careful.

Thank you for reading Detachment. I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain, and as always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph of the river was taken in my home town of Putnam, just as the sun was going down. For more photography, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

john

Photograph, poem and notes © 2014 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2014 by John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use or reproduction in any way, unless so granted in writing by the copyright owner.

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I just can’t till this land no more

Ghosts - Bodie State Park, CA


I just can’t till this land no more,
I just can’t till this land,
it’s a barren land, this land I hoe,
seeded with the salt of tears,
I stand on this land and it pulls me down
yearning to swallow me whole.

Here the wind whispers to the plow,
the plow to me and I to the yoke back:
You live only to die, to reap what is sown
and to gnaw the bitter root.

Carry on.

swril2

There are times when, out of desperation, fear, hope or love, we try to hold on to things and to control them. But they cannot be held, cannot be controlled and it is futile to try—they only strangle in your grip.

Santayana said, Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. If there is humor built into Nature, that is it.

The photograph is entitled Ghosts and was taken in the ghost town of Bodie in Bodie State Park, CA. For more photography, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

Thank you for reading I just can’t till this land no more. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

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One fall drive in the Poconos

Maple leaf forever

The small maple leaf, deep red with tiny yellow daubs and
a bent stem, floated down before the windshield and slowly,

lazily even, started to curl midair, casting as
it twisted, a spell on time itself: sound stopped and light curved

in a still sheen, highlighting the pale yellows on one side
of the road and the blood reds on the other, with a pair

of puzzled eyes—hazel my mother called them—floating in
between. Suddenly I knew this for what it was: an ache

for all those calm, quiet, forgotten moments, the ones of
absolute lightness that are sweeter than breath itself and

sufficient for being them unto themselves. Gone then
were those agitated moments—

With a whoosh, more imagined then heard, the little maple
leaf flew up and over the car, into the void behind.

– or –

The small red leaf twisted in the wind,
an instance of perfect resignation,
a breath released before I—
and was gone.

 

swril2

 

Recently, my wife and I spent a week in the Poconos, the name the resort area goes by in Pennsylvania. (In New York the same area is known as the much more prestigious “Catskills,” which just goes to show you that even a mountain range can do with good marketing these days.)

We were both, by the time we got there, exhausted and tired in both body and spirit, so the trip was a welcome respite from our daily clamor.

The incident described in the poems happened exactly as described, but that raises the question, Why two poems under one title?

I wish I had as good an answer as the question. The longer poem was my attempt at a more structured, detailed poem. You will note, for example, the 14 syllable line construction until the break and how much color plays a role in it. But in the end, I wanted to try something even  more closely aligned (if not as descriptive) with the spirit of the event, its brevity and intensity.

Like any good parent I will not state a preference of one child over the other. But please, feel free to weigh in on which you think works the best for you.

Thank you for reading One fall drive in the Poconos. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. These poems and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

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Ian Hamilton’s “The Garden”

Ian Hamilton is a poet from the second half of the 20th century who I greatly admire and whose poetry I love to champion. You can find a listing of more of his poems on the Book of Pain here.

The Garden

This garden’s leaning in on us, green-shadowed
Shadowed green, as if to say: be still, don’t agitate
For what’s been overgrown—
Some cobbled little serpent of a path,
Perhaps, an arbour, a dry pond
That you’d have plans for if this place belonged to you.
The vegetation’s rank, I’ll grant you that,
The weeds well out of order, shoulder-high
And too complacently deranged. The trees
Ought not to scrape your face, your hands, your hair
Nor so haphazardly swarm upwards to breathe
In summertime. It shouldn’t be so dark
So early.
All the same, if I were you,
I’d let it be. Lay down your scythe. Don’t fidget
For old clearances, or new. For one more day
Let’s listen to our shadows and be glad
That this much light has managed to get through.

For more on Ian Hamilton, I refer you to his Wikipedia page.

Thank you for reading Ian Hamilton’s “The Garden”. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

Comments © 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved.

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Fix

I took it all—
the stuff that makes the light
fail around the edges
and causes sound to disappear,
sealed it in a package,
wrapped it with a hug
and flew it to the coast,
letting it go, all of it,
praying to God my tears
didn’t ruin the return address
so that he could find his way
back home again someday.

Please, can you fix him
so that he can be what he can be,
and not what he’s become?
Please?

Thank you so much for reading Fix. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

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Us Anonymous

You and me, let’s do it, let’s start it,
Us Anonymous. They’ll come, you’ll see,
every one of them, they’ll come.

And while we’re not out to save anyone,
we’ll launch with a desperate desire because
that’s the key to it, I think, desperation.
To celebrate, we’ll take every last, nasty thing
that we can be and pour them into some fireworks.
Then, we’ll seal them up and prime them down
and launch them way up high, so that
when they implode (and count on it, they will)
every little part of us that we let go of will burn
and glow in full public view (painfully it’s true,
but just for a moment) before fading…leaving
our dreams on the air, dispersing everywhere.
Gosh, I can see it now, it will be beautiful.
It will.

Thank you so much for reading Us Anonymous. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem, either alone or with the notes that accompany it, may be printed and distributed—in part or amalgamated with other works—as long as the copyright notice and the address, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com, are also clearly printed with it and there is no fee charged.

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Oh-so-softly

I am guilty—who do I blame?
I am old—who do I entreat?
I am torn—who do I thank?

There is, I suspect, in the shell of every need
the pith of an answer
and the crown of a desire rooted deep in pure release.
Not lost (not yet) but slipping,
just-oh-so-softly away.
Aye, slipping.

There comes an age when you are “older.’ By this I do not mean “21 is older than 20,” but “older” as in “old.” You recognize that the majority of your life is behind you and that certainly the most dynamic, energizing part has slipped into the past.

This realization put me in a reflective mood, looking back on my life. None of it matters, not really. Who you have been and are, the people you affected and who affected you—that matters—but only in a reflective way, as a mirror reflects the world. The moment that is, is, and for right now, that is all you have. Not the past, not the future, but only the here and now.

Thank you for reading Oh-so-softly. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

4 Comments

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